Design and install your dream kitchen without the nightmares.
Most home owners will agree that the kitchen is the heart of any home and with modern living, this has becomes all the more true.
The kitchen is no longer the sole domain for just cooking and food preparation. We congregate in our kitchens to eat, drink and socialise all hours of the day so the demands placed on this hub of the home is far greater than generations gone by. When installing a new kitchen, it needs to take into account the numerous functions that will be demanded on it and to achieve all these goals, getting the layout and design of the kitchen right is paramount.
So before you embark on creating your new dream kitchen, here are some essential mistakes to avoid to ensure you get it right first time.
1. Access to the holy trinity
First and foremost, a professional kitchen designer will always consider where the sink, stove and refrigerator will be located to ensure all three are placed where they will experience the least obstruction and offer the best use and flexibility.
Of the three, the sink will get the most use and thus, should be within easy reach of cooktops, stoves and the work surfaces.
From a practical perspective, the sink needs to be close to plumbing for both the water supply and waste however, in some cases, plumbing work may be required if the existing position is simply impractical for use. If this is the case, you may have to be prepared to invest in a plumber making the necessary changes to make your kitchen work better for your needs.
In terms of spacing, the golden rule is that each of the three should not be less than 3 metres apart in smaller kitchens, or greater than 7 meters apart in larger kitchens. Too close and people will be tripping over each other. Too far apart and preparing food becomes a time consuming task.
2. Lack of Storage Space
The biggest single mistake people make when designing a new kitchen is either lack of storage or incorrect storage scale.
Our kitchens store a great deal of stuff from food packaging and containers, food processors and mixers, pots, pans, cleaning liquids and appliances. Each of these need an appropriate home to house when unused so when designing your kitchen, consider the variety and volume of items you have and you’ll soon realise that storage is your biggest concern.
If your kitchen is small, this is all the more critical. Cabinets over the refrigerator will help to use up what is seemingly dead space and create additional storage for keeping infrequently used items out of sight. Tall wall cabinets and pull out larders will give you the maximum amount of storage for stock, spices, seasoning, sugars and more and make them easy to reach and simple to store away.
If you like jars and containers for food, ensure you choose cabinets that have the necessary head height to cater for these. Pull out lazy susan’s are a great way to access these even when tucked away at the back of the cabinet.
3. Lack of Counter Space
The most common complaint that people have is their kitchen either lacks counter space or the space is too disjointed and broken up by appliances, cupboards and awkward corners.
By ensuring all tall floor cabinets and bulky items are grouped together, you can ensure you allow for a large one-piece counter area that will give you an ideal surface for food preparation and cleaning up.
If your kitchen is big enough to allow it, an L-shape or even an island can create a much bigger work surface for preparing food, eating and cleaning up.
4. Poor Quality Counter Top
It is very common for a beautiful new kitchen to be spoiled by a cheaper, less expensive counter top to finish it off.
Although tempting as a cost cutting exercise, cheaper artificial counter tops seldom last that long and in high usage areas start to show wear and tear on corners, with laminates peeling away, with chips and discolouration developing in places where water and erosion is common.
Although considerably more expensive, natural stone worktops such as granite, marble, quartz and slate are far more hard wearing, give your kitchen a stunning look, will last a lifetime if cared for and will maintain the value of your kitchen for many years to come.
5. Poor Lighting
Many kitchens do not tend to have as much natural light as other rooms in the home and thus, good lighting and well placed quality lighting is essential to ensure its an area that illuminates all essential areas of the kitchen and makes for a safe and comfortable environment to prepare food, eat and cleanup.
The great thing about kitchens is they have numerous lighting options that perform different tasks. As well as overall illumination, there are also dedicated cabinet lights for accenting and spot lights for tasking.
Many kitchens now opt for all three with recessed ceiling lights used for overall illumination, pendant lights for specific areas such at islands for eating and preparation and accenting lights that showcase the beauty of your kitchen and create moods and visually stunning colours at low light.
6. Lack of Backsplash
Often overlooked due to a simple oversight, the backsplash can tend to slip down the pecking order of priorities yet, this vital finish whether completed with tile or stone is essential to prevent the build up of grease, steam and water damage from spoiling unfinished walls near to cook tops and appliances.
Kitchens get very warm and steamy when cooking and if occupied by a large group or party, will soon become as hot as an oven!
Without good ventilation, stale food smells, dirt and airborne dust will just circulate and eventually settle and spoil your kitchen. Cheaper, inexpensive extractor hoods simply recirculate dirty air whilst although slightly more expensive, a good ventilation system will fully remove them, keep your kitchen air quality much cleaner and extend the life of your appliances.
8. Following Trends
Its only natural for you to want the latest look in your home but it is easy to make a mistake by trying to shoehorn a style into your home that simply doesn’t work. A a rule of thumb, trends wit bold and bright colours tend to come and go very quickly, whilst classic looks are timeless. Just look back to the hideous avocado bathrooms of the eighties!
If you are looking for a new kitchen whether your home is contemporary or historical, choose a style that is sympathetic to the era and enhances its best characteristics.
9. Not using a professional
Trying to fit a kitchen yourself just to save a few pennies will end up costing more in the long run.
Each and every kitchen has its challenges whether they be the flooring, electrics, plumbing or the room shape and anyone with a lack of experience will undoubtedly make huge mistakes when designing and fitting a kitchen that an experienced professional will have seen and overcome a thousand time before.
A new kitchen is likely to be one of the biggest investments you make in improving your home so you don’t want to make it a catastrophic mistake by cutting corner just to save a few pennies and ending up with a dog dinner instead of a beautiful, stunning new room that all the family can enjoy.